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A priest, or babalawo, performs divination for a client, marking on a tray such as this the configurations resulting from throwing palm nuts or a divination chain. After a number of throws, the pattern that emerges directs the priest to one of 256 verses in the body of oral literature associated witph Ifa. While the god Orunmila, also known as Ifa, is credited with teaching people Ifa divination, the face of Esu, messenger between gods and people and a trickster, is the deity typically positioned at the top of a divination tray, as in this example. Other images carved in relief around the border vary from tray to tray and depict figures and motifs associated with divination, with deities, and with daily activities. (Courtesy Eskenazi Museum of Art.)
Ifa Tray Activity Guide